Covid-19 update: What is happening now in London? What is (or could be) next?

The Set-up Dashboard in the London model
  1. Virtually all of the data from London is messy. It is very difficult without something to link everything together to make a good estimate of what is likely to be happening. The historical part of simulation allows us to do that because if the pieces of this puzzle do not fit together, the simulation simply will not work. If you will this is enforced rigour by the physics of the model. Because of the physics, the model also helps us make better estimates or select the best source where there are conflicting data sources. We have also in some cases made adjustments to the data where conflicting sources do not track back in history. An example is the recent revision of deaths by the Office of National Statistics stating that about 50% more deaths were happening outside hospitals. Many in care homes. The blue line model tracks our best estimates. The blue lines show how the behaviour develops going forward for variables where we have data. And the model also shows the history and projection for variables where we have no data at all.
  2. Having synchronised the simulation with the historical record allows the model to carry on and show for the charts where we have historical data what is likely to happen next. Going forward there are just two assumptions: a) The epidemiology does not change (the virus does not mutate to a strain with dissimilar characteristics; b) We have assumed that social distancing rigour is gradually relaxed but not more than would cause the active cases and deaths to escalate above levels already experienced
  3. We also can see things that are simply not reported historically and going forward, such as the future track of the disease.
  4. With 3 we have a much clearer foundation for anticipating what is likely to happen and planning for that. We can also vary our assumptions and see what is likely to happen. That is the subject of the scenarios that follow
  5. We can see where London ends up at day 180 (3 million people remain susceptible in our Base Case) and judge whether that is a desirable or undesirable number. It is on the one hand obviously very good that 3 million people have not had to endure the worry and possible suffering to survive and their families have not lost them. On the other hand, they are still susceptible.
  1. It helps reconcile a messy data set, so there is just a much higher level of rigour available to cross check the data
  2. The model fills in information that is not published anywhere we know of. This creates a consistent idea about what is going on, instead of having to guess about many things.
  3. The ground work is done to evaluate the impact of actions and develop compound strategies. We believe we can ask much better questions when setting up exit strategy scenarios
  4. As more and better data becomes available, we can rapidly update the model and see where our understanding is impacted and how 3 might change
  • The Base Case — what happens if we keep on with the current lockdown until late July, when the simulation ends, c 4 months after the lockdowns start.
  • Scenario One “Stricter Lockdown” — We assume a tighter “Lombardy style” lockdown from at in late April. The aim is to eradicate the disease almost completely.
  • Scenario Two “May Release” — Partial lifting of the current lockdown level from the end of May, with increasing freedoms over time, but some elements of enforced lockdown persist.
  • Scenario Three “Early Release” — New York style lifting of the current lockdown in early May, to a similar lower level of enforced lockdown as in Scenario Two.
  • There will no vaccine available in the time period of this study.
  • Mass testing is not available as a solution in the time period and for a few months after.
  • When c 8m of London’s c 9m population has had the disease, we assume “good enough” Herd Immunity exists with little risk of an unmanageable Wave 2 occurring.
  • The stricter the lockdown, the less uninfected people — i.e. “herd immunity” — it delivers by Day 180, the period end. The two strict lockdown scenarios (Base Case and Case 4 “Stricter Lockdown”) have not reduced London’s uninfected people to 1m or below by the end of July, necessitating ongoing protective steps until a vaccine is found.
  • Both scenarios require a high level of social and economic inactivity for a long time. Neither of these are likely to be possible for 4 months, never mind longer, without high levels of public unrest and economic destruction, and very possibly both.

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Maurice Glucksman

Maurice Glucksman

Investor and analyst focused on disruption. Former equity analyst and management consultant with Engineering and Management degrees from MIT and U of Michigan